In the Kitchen with the Rangoon Sisters 

X Hackney Chinese Community

It finally happened! 15 months after releasing tickets to their Fundraising Dining Club (pre-COVID), and here’s some pictures from it. The date was 24th July 2021, one of the first times supperclubs had reopened and everyone being there together. Read a bit more about Hackney Chinese Community Service and the amazing people doing things for the ESEA community including Emily and Amy Cheung who cooked everything and run a Burmese food business.

The Rangoon Sisters Dining Club was a first in the series of ESEA events organised through community organiser and writer, Jenny Lang / Celestial Peach [read an interview and more about HCC's work here]. Pictured below, next to Vicky Sung who manages HCC events.

Hackney Chinese Community Service initially opened in 1985 to support the elder Chinese Community and help them access public services. It's now extended to an all-round, intergenerational community - providing everything from Pot Luck events to Table Tennis, Lunar New Year Lion Dances and Cinema Evenings! - open to not just the ESEA Community but anyone who wants to come along, and join in the learning. Photos line the wall, it's beautiful.

Sisters Emily and Amy, who were born and grew up in South London, founded Rangoon Sisters back in 2013 as a supper club. Swivelled round two full time jobs, both Doctors at the NHS (see some of the amazing work they did over Lockdowns and fundraising on their Instagram), and being mums. A little bit more about why they started their business below:

How it started?

"Initially we started the supper club simply to see if we COULD do it - as a challenge! We had grown up entertaining and feeding people with our parents, though never to the scale we have ended up doing (sometimes 90 in a day!). We mainly wanted to spread love for Burmese food as there weren’t and still aren’t many restaurants serving it in London and it is DELICIOUS. It has been a way to connect with our roots, too. Mum is the harshest critic and we will always be learning from her."

Your Fundraising.

"Mainly we donate to Medical Action Myanmar (MAM), an organisation providing medical care to those who need it most, particularly for HIV and TB (which Emily specialises in) all around the country. Both of us have spent time in Yangon volunteering with MAM and have seen the brilliant work they do. With COVID-19 causing destruction in an already horrifically challenging time post February’s military coup, they need our support more than ever. We have also donated to the Red Cross in Myanmar and various food and medical supply support this year since the coup."

How you linked up with Hackney Community Centre.

"Jenny Lau is an old school friend and we reconnected over discussions about food and searching for ways to satisfy the thirst for our roots! She invited us to her pot luck series at the centre and we loved it. We can’t believe we didn’t know it was there, just off Mare Street, despite going up and down those streets for nearly 20 years. 

Being there and involved with HCCS is a way for us to connect with our Chinese side (Mum is Anglo-Burmese and Dad was Hong Kong Chinese). Sadly Dad passed away nearly 3 years ago, he would have loved the centre. We took the 2 year old to lunch club and just liked him being around people that look and sound like Dad."

The Future.

"We want to continue supper clubbing! We love meeting our diners and spreading love for Burmese food. The pandemic meant we couldn’t do them and although we did a few online classes it wasn’t quite the same.  We will continue to do more recipe writing and we embrace any opportunities that come from all of this! It’s far exceeded what we had imagined or hoped for. But it’s a real joy to have met the people we have, some who are now close friends, write a book that we can share with everyone and to be in such a privileged position"

Thank you again to people like Emily and Amy, making us hungry - but above all, reminding that sharing and eating food always comes hand-in-hand with doing good. Video below and some of the food.

Dinner is served...

Guest list and temperature checks with Jenny Lau 🔥

Starter: samosa dunked in curry sauce with cabbage and lime leaves 

Main course: garlic chilli oil noodles - a simple Burmese street food dish topped with spring onions and served with side spicy chicken  and cauliflowers from the BBQ outside

Volunteer, Meera's noodle pull. (Again, these things couldn't happen if friends of friends and community didn't pull through❤️).

The HCC Team, featuring Co-Manager Jabez Lam (far left) who is a well known journalist and has background in finance and community work.

... and don't forget mum's spicy sauce.

Dessert: pandan noodles homemade, a coconut jelly ice and coconut milk with a salty brioche made by Emily, nice baps 👀...

"The cookbook really allowed us to dive deeper into our dishes and connect with where they came from."  You can cook like this too! 

Looking forward to more.

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